Milestones and Kanban

In the last month I was able to finish version 1.0 of my game data editor “TOSEdit”. This is the first actually useful version, because it can create tiles, charsets and maps and export them in the same binary format as the wonderful CharPad. This will be the base for the further required features, that are needed to support the more special properties of the TOS2 C64 engine (like e.g. swapping parts of the charset on the fly). Interestingly, the implementation of the editing itself went pretty quickly (did I already mention that I love Java?). But what really needed time was a reasonable implementation of cut, copy and paste and of undo. I never implemented an undo mechanism before and it is actually quite a challenge. You need to do it completely for all actions that change the underlying data somehow, or it will fail miserably. Well, I was able to finish it and thought that this is worth a “release”. Where release in this context only means that I give it the satisfying version number 1.0 and write a blog post about it!

tosedit_1-0

I think working towards milestones and releases is so much more satisfying! When starting the work on the editor I decided to even go one step further and apply some agile methods to plan and track my progress. As I am the only person working on the project, Kanban seemed a reasonable method and what can I say: I love it! Kanban is a simple way to organize tasks (or rather “stories”, which are features that are needed, described from a stakeholder point of view). In my specific case there are 4 columns with such stories, a “Backlog” of things that I want to do at some time in the future, but did not think enough about that I could immediately start work on. After I spent enough thoughts about it, the story is moved to the “Selected for Development” column. When I actually start working on it, it gets moved to “In Progress” and when I finally finish it, it gets moved to “Done”. There is one specific rule that is typical in Kanban, which is that you limit the number of stories that can be in a certain column. In my case I decided to say that I never want more than 3 stories in progress. This helps to focus and get things done instead of being distracted too much.  I am using the wonderful Atlassian Jira (which is free for small projects and nicely combines agile methods with bug tracking) and below is a snapshot of my Kanban board, filtered for the TOSEdit 1.0 release. You can see that there is only one issue left (which is writing this blog entry), which I will move now to the “Done” column. Really satisfying!

kanban

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